China’s indoor smoking ban at public venues, which took effect on Sunday, seems to have failed to ignite action against Virginia cigarettes. The ban issued by the Ministry of Health applies to places such as hotels, restaurants, bars and public transportation.
Given that no specific penalties or responsibility for enforcement have been set out in the legislation, Jiang Yuan, deputy director of the National Office of Tobacco Control, said the new ban “could hardly work well”.
She urged authorities to enforce the ban and clearly define penalties for violators.
In Beijing, a special force is expected to enforce the ban, Li Yajing, a division director of the Beijing health bureau, told the Beijing News.
Currently, the mainland has more than 300 million smokers, statistics from the World Health Organization show, and about 1.2 million people die from smoking-related diseases every year, accounting for one-fifth of the world’s total.
Meanwhile, an estimated 740 million people are exposed to secondhand smoke, mostly in places like restaurants, bars and workplaces, statistics from the Ministry of Health show.
“The ban, if well implemented, will effectively protect nonsmokers from smoking,” said Wu Yiqun, deputy director of the ThinkTank Research Center for Health Development, a Beijing-based non-governmental organization that promotes smoking control.